A Life Well Lived

This is the view from my parents porch at about 6:30 AM on Monday, July 13th. The hospice nurse had just left a few minutes before this, confirming that my mother had passed away. We knew where she was. She had trusted in Jesus Christ as Savior many years ago. Now she is absent from her body and present with the Lord! (I Cor. 5:8) We were blessed to have had her for 91 years.

“Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her.” (Prov. 31:10, 11). I know a lot of honest people, but my mother was the most honest person I knew. Honesty is the language of God and she spoke that in her words and actions.

We had many spiritual conversations over the years. The one that impacted me the most had to do with taking me to church. She thought that I needed to go to church. I was only a toddler at the time. She was about 25 years old. Still very young.

She had been baptized as an infant in the Lutheran church. Her mother died at the age of 49. My mother was 16 at the time and became the care giver for my grandfather and her younger sister. It was 1945 and my two uncles, her brothers, were fighting to help to win the war. I don’t think going to church was high on her priority list at the time.

Soon after her and I attended a service, she heard a sermon that bothered her. In fact, she said it made her angry. The pastor had preached a message from Romans chapter 3. The particular verse was verse 12; “There is none who does good, no, not one”.

She thought that her dad, my grandfather, was a good man. He would help anybody. And he would. He was a trustworthy man, rough around the edges, and gruff sometimes in his approach. In human terms, he was a good human being, but not without faults. She thought, “Why wouldn’t God accept him?”

So she left church that day intending not to go back. But the Holy Spirit graciously changed her mind and she returned. In her returning, she came to the realization that “there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin”. (Eccl. 7:20) She understood that in comparison to the Lord who is holy, there is no way any human could ever measure up. She realized she needed a Savior to deliver her from sin. And she also knew that my brother and I needed a Savior as well.

That pivotal point in her decision to return has impacted three generations. Her grandchildren have come to trust in the Savior. And at least two of her great grandkids have come to trust in the Lord Jesus as Savior. Not only that but several people spoke at her funeral about the influence she had on them for Christ.

My grandfather was a sinner. My mother was a sinner. I am a sinner. My kids and grandkids are sinners. All of us sin and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) But in His infinite love, mercy, and grace, Jesus paid our sin debt on the cross and rose again. He’s the only way to the Father. (John 14:6).

My mother realized that no amount of good works, church participation, or religious duty could ever take away our sin. I am thankful for the decision she made to return. I am thankful for a preacher who taught the truth. I am thankful for the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8). Because of it, she came to know the Lord and many others came to know Him. She is an example of a life well lived. And we can take comfort in her departure, knowing “that if our earthly house , this tent is destroyed, we have a building from God, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens”. (II Cor. 5:1). “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (I Cor. 9:15)

Know that you can be sure you will go to heaven.

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